More Older Drivers
In the U.S., nearly 8,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day—a trend that is expected to continue well into the future. By 2020, the U.S. population will include nearly 56 million citizens age 65 and older, and by 2030 that numbers swells to more than 72 million. In addition, more older adults are keeping their driver licenses longer. In 2010, 80 percent of the 70-and-older population was licensed to drive—approximately 22.3 million seniors—and this number will continue to rise.¹
As people age, there is a decline in many of the abilities considered necessary to safely operate a motor vehicle. Older people, as a group, have reduced visual acuity, narrower visual fields, poorer nighttime vision, greater sensitivity to glare, slower reaction times, more attention deficits, reduced muscle strength, reduced flexibility and range of motion, and other declines in visual, cognitive, and psychomotor function that can adversely affect driving.²
Prolonging the mobility and independence of older adults is an important social goal. Improving the visibility of road signs and pavement markings can be particularly important for older drivers who—between the ages of 60 and 80—need three to six times more light to see than a 20-year-old.³
Maintained sign retroflectivity, larger signs with increased letter height, advance warning and street signs, improved road delineation with wider, well-maintained pavement markings and more traffic control in work zones are some of the recommended low cost safety improvements that can benefit older drivers.
¹Insurance Institute for Highway Safety,
²National Cooperative Highway Research Program, NCHRP Report 500
³American Automobile Association, Inc., SeniorDriving.AAA.com